Daring bakers is a group i wanted to be a part of for a long long time, i don't have to repeat that anymore. I was no longer a DB virgin with the Gevulde Speculaas, a dutch pastry, but post that, the Australia trip, jamshedpur trip etc etc, barred me from attempting the other challenges. This month i was determined to do my bread and DB challenges on time. This months bread challenge was yeasted baked doughnuts, i made them on time, but haven't posted them yet. This month was special, its become a ritual this year to keep checking the 2 groups for the monthly challenge in the beginning of the month, then either i will be super excited about the challenge, or just fine with it.
This month was special because i was thrilled about both the challenges. Breads challenge gave us doughnuts, something i could have never imagined myself to try, i was always comfortable getting them from the MoD or krispy kremes when i had a craving. But a baked doughnut was definitely intriguing and hence i tried it wholeheartedly. They did turn out nice, soft and fluffy, not as sinful as the store-bought deep fried doughnuts but the fact that they were way more healthier, was a big win for it.
Now coming to the DB challenge, daring bakers literally dares us every month. Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Baker;s host and she had us whipping pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies and even crack pies. I agree, there's nothing like pies. She gave us many options. But what caught my attention was the Crostata di marmaletta, a jam filled italian dessert, mostly filled with fruit preserves if fruits you can name, from peaches to strawberries to plum, when i was going through its Wiki page, i got stuck at Crostata alla nutella, a modern interpretation of the crostata with nutella as a filling. But the problem is the husband loves nutella but i was sure if he sees anything full of chocolate, he kind if gets turned off, he prefers thing fruity, just another thingy where we are poles apart, iam trying to make peace with the fact that how can a sane person not be mesmerized by the very look of chocolate! So i finally thought why not try nutella and cherries, a while mack this cherry pie made by bake-a-mania had also got stuck at the back of my mind. Hence the Crostata alla Nutella and Cherries :)
I didn't follow the recipe there, but wanted to try Mukta's recipe and am i glad! A buttery flaky crust, a generous dose of nutella at the bottom, and cherries and life was good. To the recipe now.
Crostata alla Nutella and Cherries
For the Crust
2 1/2 cups minus 2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp salt *
200 gms butter
4 tbsp ice cold water
(* i used amul salted butter here, so i skipped the salt altogether)
For the Filling
1 can store bought mothers maid cherry filling
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup nutella
1 tbsp dermerera or any sugar for sprinkling on top with a few pinches of cinnamon powder to mix with it.
For the crust
1. For preparing the pie dough, get the ingredients in place.
2. Cut the cold butter into very small cubes and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes. At the same time keep 1/2 cup of water in the freezer
3. Mix the flour and the sugar in a bowl. Now add the butter to the flour, and pulse in a processor or use your fingers to keep mixing till it resembles a coarse mixture with few pea sized butter pieces remaining. This may take some time, but be patient and in a while it will start feeling therapeutic when you see the flour transform.
4. Add the ice cold water 1 tbsp at a time and keep mixing the dough till it all comes together. 4 tbsp was enough for me, you may need a tbsp or more in worst case.
5. Turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times, 4-5 times, till it comes together into a ball.
6. Divide it into two parts, take 2 a4 size cling foils, place them on it, flatten into 6-7 inch discs and wrap the cling foil and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling
I used store bought cherry filling , guess the brand was mother maid or something, but the recipe here at Mukta's blog looks fab and much more flavorful.
Assemble and Bake the pie
Preheat the oven for 10-15 mins at 200C both top and bottom rods on.
1. Take out one of the discs and roll it into a big circle, 1/2-1 inch bigger than the diameter of the top of your pie dish. I do this over a cling foil.
2. Now place the pie dish over the circle and flip it around so that now the pie dough circle is over the pie dish. Press lightly into the inner corners, to fit into the pie dish. Trim the top corners, using a knife, or a kitchen scissor.
3. Place it in the refrigerator while you roll the top crust. I have used an 8 inch pie dish, so to form the lattice, i required 8 strips vertical and horizontal each, so its 1 strip per inch of the pie dish.
4. Add the nutella as a bottom layer on top of the bottom layer, put the cherry filling over it, and refrigerate again till you are ready with the top layer preparations.
5. Roll the other disc into a 10 inch circle or bigger to make it as thin as 1/4 cm. And Cut 1 cm wide thin strips, as many as possible. You would need 16 or 20 depending on the pattern you want to make. Just a lattice 16, 4 more to make the edge pattern. How to make a lattice comes later in this post.
6. Finish the lattice, you would have tails hanging from the side, trim them short.
7. Now make the corner patter, i used this link to make this pattern, brush the corners with water and place this pattern over the corner so that it sticks easily.
8. Now brush the top with some egg wash, and sprinkle some sugar on top, i sprinkled some cinnamon sugar made out of dermerera sugar.
9. Bake it at 200C for 20 mins and then at 160C for another 20-25 mins till the corners and top has browned beautifully.
10. Take it out, cool it for 5-10 mins and have it warm with some plain vanilla ice-cream. It was best described by my dear fren Pallavi of Thou Shalt Cook as a warm pie and ice cream is like a shaadi in chandigarh (read marriage in heaven ;) )
We loved the combination of cherries and nutella, but d little i tasted i am sure fresh cherries would have done wonders, but i had to finish that can of cherries, and for lazy bums why not!
How to make a Lattice top Crust
1. Roll out the second disc of dough into a circle that is about 2inch longer than all round the pie dish.
2. With the help of a ruler, cut neat straight strips of dough that are about 1/2 inch wide, using a knife or a fluted pastry wheel.
3. For a square woven lattice, lay 8 strips vertically facing you, across the pie filling, keeping them neatly parallel to each other and spacing then evenly.
4. Fold back every alternate strip from the centre, and place another strip across the filling across the center horizontally. Lay the folded strips back again.
5. Now fold back those strips that were not folded the first time, not to get confused, its always the strips which have a horizontal strip over them, that have to be folded. Lay another strip across those that are flat now, spacing this new strip evenly from the first centre strip.
6. Continue folding the strips in this way until half of the lattice is completed. Now repeat on the other half of the pie.
7. Trim the ends of the strips even with the rim of the pie dish. I made sure at the corners there are no overlaps so that the corner doesn't become too thick. Moisten the edge of the pastry case and press the strips gently to it to seal. Finish the edge. Some lovely pie crust edge ideas can be found below :
ii. Paula Deen
iii. Using pie crust cutters smartly
I didn't have much dough left, but still i had a 1 inch ball of dough left around, so i made one small nutella pocket, and it was i must say much better than the pie to say the least, it was divine, i wish i had made some more dough to make more of these.
Happy Pie baking, if this post got you tempted to bake a pie or simply have a pie, or it bored the heck out of you, please let me know ;)